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Baldwin considers new property rules | News

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Baldwin considers new property rules

A proposed ordinance could have folks in Baldwin County taking a second look at their homes, businesses, and land.

"I tore it down and then I started working on this one at the corner," that's what neighbor Walter Bland said as he talked about his properties on Barnes Avenue. He said instead of letting everything sit and accumulate, he's being proactive.

He said, "I already tore down one down the street that I have, but I'll agree with it because it makes the neighborhood bad. You got people going in and out sleeping in, using drugs, and everything."

The county commission discussed a proposed ordinance that could fine owners of blighted properties. However, they put it on hold while they create a task force to look at the issue.

County Attorney David McRee says some of the issues they'll look into include:

  • Outdoor storage, where inoperable vehicles, glass, trash, and other hazardous materials may not be stored on the property for more than 30 days
  • Maintaining swimming pools to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, burned structures, taking all of the debris away within 30 days after the fire department does an investigation
  • Vacant homes, requiring owners to comply with county rules

After speaking with several neighbors on Barnes Avenue, they say they all agreed that an ordinance to clean up run-down properties would be a step in the right direction. However, some say they hope if it's passed it will start with warnings to give their elderly neighbors more time to fix up their homes.

Bland says, "Older people that own these houses, they don't have the money or the finances to pay someone to do it and then they can't do it, so they're kind of stuck in a hard place."

Neighbor Adwina Hubbard is all for cleaning up the properties. She says, "We just want our community to look good and be clean and safe around here for like snakes and all kind. We have kids running around here."

If the ordinance passes, it won't take effect for 180 days after it's approved. McRee says the task force will meet within a few weeks to discuss the next step.


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